Making a difference in the lives of people at the Thompson Center for Autism & Neurodevelopment at the University of Missouri

World Autism Month celebrated with a carnival and Mizzou Baseball

Saturday was a day of fun for families from the Thompson Center! The Thompson Foundation was selected as a beneficiary of Mizzou Greek Week. Their initiative included a sensory-friendly carnival for kids from the Thompson Center. The Greek organizations were trained through the Thompson Center’s Autism Friendly Business program to make the carnival booths inclusive for children with autism.

Watch the video coverage from KRCG.

Next door, children also participated in Autism Day at Mizzou Baseball. Families were on the field when Andy Bal threw out the first pitch, and kids stood next to the Tigers players during the National Anthem. Thanks to Mizzou Baseball and Mizzou Greek Week for a wonderful day of autism inclusion in our community! View photos below:

 A man and a young boy stand in front of a red and white striped carnival booth. The boy is holding a pie and is going to throw it at the face of someone behind a Truman the Tiger cut-out.A mom holds her son as they face the Mizzou Tigers baseball dugout. A Tigers player is high-fiving the boy.Three boys and one girl are smiling and looking at the camera. They are standing on the baseball field in front of the Mizzou dugout. Children stand next to Mizzou Baseball players as they look toward the American flag during the National Anthem. They are standing on the baseball field and are facing away from the camera. It is a sunny day with a blue sky.

2048 1536 Thompson Foundation for Autism & Neurodevelopment

Myles Hinkel

Executive Director

Myles Hinkel began as Executive Director in June 2020. Myles leads the foundation’s three-pillar mission; fundraising, awareness, and advancing public policy. Prior to this, Myles was Director of Advancement for Gift Planning & Regional covering the West Coast for The University of Missouri. This was Myles’ second time with MU Advancement. He previously worked in the College of Arts & Science before taking advancement positions at Columbia College and the Missouri United Methodist Foundation. Myles, his wife Lora, and their two boys have been involved in the Thompson Center and the Thompson Foundation since their inceptions.

Katie Lentz

Director of Donor Relations

Katie Lentz oversees donor stewardship and marketing for the Thompson Foundation for Autism & Neurodevelopment. Prior to joining the Thompson Foundation in 2020, she worked for Major League Baseball’s nonprofit, the Baseball Assistance Team. Originally from Quincy, Illinois, Katie is a graduate of Tulane University and has lived in Louisiana, Florida, New York, and now Missouri. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, singing, and playing violin.

Melissa Eston

Office Manager

Melissa Eston began her role as Office Manager in August of 2022. In her role, Melissa receives and processes donations, assists in event planning, and manages accounts receivable and payable. Melissa most recently worked in Healthcare Advancement at the University of Missouri. Prior to that, she worked as a Senior Strategic Communications associate in University Relations at the University of Missouri System. Her first experience working with non-profits was at Columbia College, where she served as a Coordinator for the Advancement division. Melissa is a Columbia College graduate with a BA in History. She lives with her husband, Chris, in Fulton. Melissa’s favorite part of working at the Thompson Foundation is seeing the tangible, positive impact its advocacy work has on the Thompson Center and the families it serves.